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Country Briefs

  Cameroon

Reference Date: 07-December-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Concerns over performance of 2016 cropping season in Far North Region due to civil insecurity

  2. Prices of cereals around or slightly above year-earlier levels

  3. Food security situation sharply deteriorated in 2015 and 2016 due to massive refugee influx and internal displacements

Concerns over 2016 cropping season in Far North Region

Harvesting of the main 2016 season maize crop was completed in October in the bi‑modal rainfall central and southern regions, while the harvest of the secondary season crops is about to start. According to remote sensing analysis, abundant and well-distributed rains from March to June were followed in parts by erratic precipitation from July to September, with negative impacts on long-cycle main season crops and early-planted second season crops. Above-average rainfall in October reduced moisture deficits and improved vegetation conditions in most affected areas.

In unimodal rainfall northern areas (North and Far North regions), where sorghum and millet crops are predominantly grown, harvesting has been recently concluded and prospects are uncertain despite favourable weather conditions. In the Far North Region, agricultural operations continue to be severely affected by the civil unrest which spread from neighbouring Nigeria in late 2014 and resulted in displacement of people, caused input shortages and depleted households’ productive assets that were already inadequate, due to recurrent climatic shocks which have eroded the resilience capacity of a large number of households. As a result, a reduced agricultural output for the second consecutive year is likely.

In the Far North Region, livestock rearing activities have also been affected by the crisis, with large numbers of cattle reported to be stolen. Cameroonian authorities have temporarily closed several cattle markets, in an effort to curb illicit livestock trade.

Prices of cereals around or slightly above year-earlier levels

Prices of locally-produced maize, the most consumed cereal, declined by 2-18 percent between June and September as the main season harvest increased supplies. Maize prices in September were 2-6 percent higher than their levels of a year earlier.

Prices of imported wheat, mainly consumed in urban areas, were stable around their year-earlier levels in recent months in the capital, Yaoundé, and in Douala, the largest urban centre and the main entry port for imports.

Prices of rice, mostly sourced from the international market, were also stable around their levels of 12 months earlier in recent months in Douala, while they declined in Yaoundé by 10 percent between June and September, when they were 9 percent lower than in the same month of the previous year.

Critical food security situation in northern and eastern regions, strong livelihood support required

Local resources in northern and eastern regions have been put under added strain by the arrival of large numbers of refugees from neighbouring Nigeria and the Central African Republic.

As of October, about 274 000 refugees from the Central African Republic were residing in North, East and Adamaoua regions, while refugees from Nigeria, who entered the Far North Region following the serious deterioration of the security situation in Borno State in June 2013, were estimated at about 86 000 in mid-November. In addition, civil unrest spread from Nigeria into the region and caused the displacement of almost 200 000 Cameroonians.

As a result of these multiple shocks and of natural hazards (in northern areas, food production in 2015 was also negatively affected by drought), the overall food security situation has sharply deteriorated in 2015 and 2016. The number of food insecure people was estimated in October 2016 at 2.6 million, more than twice the level of June 2015. The area most affected by food insecurity is the Far North Region, where the caseload is currently estimated at 1.5 million, 100 000 more than the previous estimate in September 2015.

A timely and effective support to the agricultural sector is required to mitigate the extent of the impact of the protracted and widespread insecurity on the agricultural sector.

To help avert a full-scale nutrition and food security crisis in the coming months and to respond to the needs of the crisis-hit farmers in the Far North Region, FAO has provided crop production support to 33 500 individuals, with a special focus on women and youth, distributing seeds, tools and fertilizers.